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Herniated Disc Exercises

By Editorial Team (2)
January 31, 2022

A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus pulposus, which is the gel-like inner substance of an intervertebral disc, breaks through the annulus fibrosus, which is the tough, outer rim of the tire-like structure. Pain is the most common symptom. However, nerve compression and inflammation can cause other symptoms including numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the extremities can also occur with a herniated disc.

A herniated disc can cause other symptoms, including reflex dysfunction or an abnormal reflex response in the arms or legs, depending on where in the vertebral column the disc rupture occurs.

Exercise for Herniated Discs

Time and again, exercise has proven to be very helpful in health and fitness. It is also a component for the treatment of herniated discs. A proactive approach to the recovery from herniated discs with physical activities will help reduce the pain and assure the health of your back for the long-term.
To alleviate the pain, a person with a herniated disc will need at least 1 to 2 days of rest. However, you should keep in mind to resist the temptation to lie in bed for a long period of time because the muscles need to move and get conditioned for faster recovery.

Benefits of Herniated Disc Exercise:

It is a well-known fact the exercise is very effective for strengthening and stabilizing back muscles to prevent severe injury and pain. Having strong muscles that can support your bones and body weight help lessen unnecessary pressure on the spine.
Although this is true, having strong muscles is not the only way to support the spine. Losing excess weight can also help as extra weight also strains the back.

To help ease back pain, herniated disc exercises consisting of some simple stretches can be very helpful.

Some physicians order a program of herniated disc exercise called “dynamic lumbar stabilization.” These herniated disc exercises focus on back and abdominal muscles and address problems with strength, flexibility and posture.

Swimming, biking, and walking are all examples of aerobic herniated disc exercise.  Before beginning any herniated disc exercises, ask your doctor which exercises are best for your condition.

Caution! Some herniated disc exercise may make your pain worse. If your pain gets noticeably worse while exercising, or if pain radiates down your leg, stop immediately.

1. Prone Position

When you first wake up in the morning, or after a nap, lie face down. This position is called the “prone position.”  When you lie on your stomach, the curve of your lower back becomes more pronounced. This low-back curve is called “lordosis.”

Increasing lordosis as a herniated disc exercise can help a bulging disc by bringing its center away from the spinal nerves.

2. Sphinx Yoga

The Sphinx Yoga pose is an excellent herniated disc exercise for helping to relieve low back pain.

  • Start by lying face down on your belly. Now, get up on your elbows and hold for one to two seconds. Repeat this herniated disc exercise 6 to 8 times.
  • If you cannot get up to your elbows, go back to the prone position.
  • Repeat the Sphinx pose every two hours as needed during the day.

A sign that your condition is improving is decreased pain in your leg. Pain in your back may initially increase somewhat, or move from your leg or thigh into your buttock or hip. This is a sign of improvement also and means the herniated disc exercise is helping. If the pain in your thigh or leg increases, stop the pose immediately.

3. Cobra Pose

The Cobra pose is another Yoga position that is recommended as a herniated disc exercise and is good for helping to relieve pain in the lower back.

  • Begin the pose in a face-down position, elbows bent and hands beneath your shoulders. Keeping your pelvis on the floor and the muscles of your lower back relaxed, push up with your hands as far as you comfortably can. Stop when you feel pain or when your arms are straight.
  • Hold this position for one to two seconds; repeat this herniated disc exercise 6 to 8 times.
  • Repeat the Cobra pose every two hours as needed.

4. Standing Extensions

This herniated disc exercise is done standing instead of lying down.

  • Start by standing up straight with your hands placed on your lower back (behind your hips). Your fingers are pointing down. Without using the muscles of your lower back, press your hands into your pelvis creating an arch in your low back.
  • Hold this position for one to two seconds; repeat this herniated disc exercise 6 to 8 times.
  • Repeat standing extensions every two hours as needed.

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